Monday, September 11, 2006

Teaching The Kids About 9/11

We took some of our school time today to talk about what happened 5 years ago. Even though 3 of these kids of mine were with me every second of my personal experience, I know they don't remember. How could they? They were teeny tiny. Rocky had just turned 1, Indie was 3, and Ray was 5.

Uma called me to ask if I was watching the news. I was not. I don't think the TV had even been turned on that morning. The kids were messing around and I was getting ready to go to a women's bible study.

She said, "A plane hit the World Trade Center."

I asked if it was a little plane and by the time I turned on the TV I was seeing footage and saying, "Surely that was just a little 2-seater, right?"

Uma's pretty insightful on world events and was already telling me, "This is terrorism. That kind of accident doesn't happen."

I don't remember what else we talked about, and I guess we didn't talk for long because I remember watching when the 2nd plane hit. I don't know if we were still on the phone with each other or not (Uma, what do you remember about this?)

It was becoming obvious. This was an attack.

I told my children this story this morning. I talked about how scary it was that day. I didn't tell them I thought we were entering a war within our borders. I didn't tell them that the images of "Red Dawn" were flashing through my mind. I didn't tell them I called and begged their Daddy to come home from work.

I could tell the children were actually a little bit interested in my story. They asked a couple of questions and seemed to have a somewhat intelligent grasp of the reality. I decided to get them done with a few of their core stuff in school and then we took a break to watch some "Remembering 9/11" footage that I had taped off CBS 6 months after the attacks.

They watched in near-silence. I couldn't believe how interested they were.

We didn't watch it all. But I wanted them to see a bit of the devastation. I wanted them to know a little bit more about why I might be seen with tears in my eyes during any part of the day.

I realize that I really need to be mindful of any fears I might have given them today. I hope that as I relayed the history of that day that I also conveyed to them the hope we have in God and His Reign. I must be mindful of the truth myself in order to keep the panic away.

This really IS a different America now than it was 5 years and 1 day ago. I guess we have adapted pretty well. I'm certainly on my guard a little more now but I'm also past the paranoia (I think.)

Uma, remember that guy sitting 2 rows behind us at the Bama game? He was one of the exchange students that we were totally profiling? Was that in 2001? I'm thinking it had to have been for us to be so concerned. He sure was ACTING suspicious.

I just had to write about all of this today. I didn't really watch any of the coverage of the Remembrance ceremonies but any show that has clips of that infamous day will always make me stop and remember. It's amazing how incredibly affected I was by something happening so many miles away. The nation sure was small that day.

6 comments:

Stacy said...

I have to be the first to comment about my own post. Wow. Very disjointed writing, wouldn't you say? I guess it's because the reality of 9/11 still doesn't fit together in a perfect understanding. It still boggles my mind.

Jen C said...

I was thinking it was a good post.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have SO many thoughts about 9/11 (and basically everything else) that I should start my own blog I'm sure. I'll try to be somewhat short-winded but again, there are just SO many thoughts. It was interesting watching MSNBC yesterday as they replayed about 3 hours of Today show footage from that morning. It was eery because that was how I watched most of it unfold that day. I remember being pulled out of a light, dozing sleep that morning because something just wasn't right. It was definitely weird watching a replay yesterday because I totally knew what was going to happen and yet I couldn't turn away. My emotions are still raw but time has certainly desensitized me more than I would like. I guess everybody else is a little desensitized too because I had a hard time finding a 9/11 memorial service over here on the plains (to Auburn's credit, there was a service on campus that was short but reverent.) In so many ways it seems like only yesterday but then on the other hand it seems like it was forever ago-- something our grandparents would tell us about. I wanted to make a list of the things I ALWAYS want to remember and also want my kids to know about 9/11. I wrote a letter to Stanford the night of 9/11/01 to keep in his baby book in hopes that my emotions from that day could somehow be preserved. Now I mostly want everyone to remember the real heroes of that day, the police and all rescue personnel who were underpaid and underappreciated but sacrificed their lives anyway; the way we all bonded together (We are all New Yorkers); the passengers of Flight 93 who were utterly amazing; the way this was TOTALLY unprovoked and the nature of the enemy; the way Donald Rumsfeld had to be restrained that day after making several trips back into a burning Pentagon and still remembered the day 5 years later with a cracking voice and tears in his eyes (PC or not, I love me some Rummy!)and most importantly, the way God was there in a very real Romans 8:28 moment. I could go on and on because this is such a complex subject but I won't.

As for that raving lunatic at the UA game, I'm almost positive that it was only a couple of years ago. I'm still not sure he wasn't scouting things out but hopefully we foiled whatever twisted plan he was hatching. Anyway, I know your youngest girl was with us if that helps as a time reference. I assure you that I am just as "paranoid" and on guard now as I was on 9/12/01 (paging all "Security Moms"!) I remember thinking how easy it would be for a psycho to come into a stadium with a gun but that was only after Columbine and before 09/11. After 9/11 I cringed everytime a plane flew over Legion Field. That's the legacy our kids are left with. So hey CIA... tap my phone, subpoena my credit card statements, take my fingerprints. I don't care because I don't have anything to hide and while you're looking for the next jihadist, maybe you'll catch a few pervs and murders along the way.

Lastly, as our preacher loves to remind us, Jesus basically said (big fat paraphrase here) "Cheer up! It's only going to get worse!" (Matthew 24). Well, I'm sure I'm already over my alloted comment space so I'll end it with that happy thought!
--Stephanie

Jen C said...

Steph,
I love some Rummy as well. Rumsfield is my Secret Grandpaw.

Anonymous said...

just checking in for a Survivor post...will check back later. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this season. What about Flicka? I think she is a vegetarian and let the chickens go on purpose. Any thoughts?
Charlotte

Dana said...

I remember that morning. As soon as I got back from taking my oldest to preschool, my hubby calls and tells me to put on the news. It was horrible. I remember just sitting there and crying.